Shea butter is a very common ingredient of cosmetic products and a less-known ingredient for cooking oil or even chocolate. While you may have been using it, you may not know this aspect to it: shea butter offers a steady and encouraging income to women in West Africa.
The production of this ingredient is not that easy, however. Shea trees are very common in rural Africa, and the process of butter production is a trait passed from mother to daughter in the largest part of rural West Africa. The problem was to organize the production is such a way that a product produced in the poorest parts of Africa can reach an international audience, empowering its producers in the process.
This is when Kpelly, a man from Southern Ghana came into the picture. The businessman saw a great opportunity in the production, together with the fact that it was a way to bring women out of extreme poverty and into a sustainable way of earning their living. For that reason, he created the SeKaf Butter Village, bringing women from different parts of Uganda and Ghana together, to organize their processing of shea butter.
The village quickly became a model for likewise efforts in other parts of West Africa. It came to the hands of the women that took part in the production, and showed them the way to organize the production by themselves and to become autonomous very quickly. This was a huge win for a society that has women always relying on their fathers and husbands for survival.
In the years to come, the shea butter production has the potential of being a great help to women in their effort to be empowered and freed from an oppressive society. The way is now shown.